The Memphis Grizzlies just got a lot better. Trading for Marcus Smart gave them one of the best defensive players in the NBA, all while also acquiring a vocal leader and strong locker room presence to keep their young players accountable and on the right path.

The Grizzlies have struggled with some attitude issues over the past couple of years. Smart comes with a playoff pedigree and is known for being a glue guy and someone who won’t hesitate to get on his teammates’ faces to address the team’s issues.

When asked about this new path in his career, Smart seemingly took a shot at the Boston Celtics, who traded him to land Kristaps Porzingis. Even so, he’s also excited about this new opportunity.

“You always want to be where you’re wanted, and another team’s trash is another team’s gold. So I’m glad to be here,” Smart told Jared Weiss of The Athletic. “I’m glad to be on an organization that wants me and sees me (have) great value. So I’m ecstatic and I’m ready to get going.”

Celtics Lied To Smart About The Trade

Smart admitted that he knew he was going to be traded eventually, especially after being tangled up in trade rumors for so long. However, he didn’t appreciate the fact that the Celtics lied to him about his situation, as he even found out about his trade on social media:

“If I’m being quite frank, I knew I would be traded eventually,” Smart said. “Just figured it would be the next season, just based off my contract and with the new CBA. We already knew that. But it was just the way it happened. I was told everything was good after asking multiple times. Like, ‘I’m hearing (rumors), what’s going on?’ And they’re like, ‘No, you’re good, you’re good, you’re good.’ And then when I do hear about the trade, it’s from Shams (Charania) on Twitter before I hear from the team.”

He’s Not Ja’s Mentor

Beyond his obvious impact on the court, some expect Smart to try and be Ja Morant’s mentor. Morant’s off-court behavior has been a talking point in NBA circles for quite a while, as there are serious concerns about how he could derail his career.

Nonetheless, despite his reputation, leadership, and experience, Smart made it loud and clear that he’s not there to babysit Ja or be the one who’s going to make him change his habits:

“Everybody keeps thinking I’m here to help Ja with off-the-court stuff and to babysit Ja. That’s not even the case. That’s far from it,” Smart said. “Ja’s a human being, just like everybody else. Ja made a mistake. Ja’s paying the consequences for his mistake, and he’s taking the necessary actions to render those mistakes and come back with a clean slate. That’s all we can ask for.”

The Grizzlies are an up-and-coming team, and all young squads need veterans. They now have one that’s tailor-made for their grit-and-grind culture, and he’s going to be a fan favorite in no time.

SURVEY Will Smart lead the Grizzlies to the playoffs?

Will Smart lead the Grizzlies to the playoffs?